UP to Not Immediately Move Forward with Holmes Upgrades

The University Park City Council voted Jan. 23 to not move forward immediately with Phase II upgrades to the Holmes Aquatic Center, despite a community member’s offer to donate $1 million toward the cost of those improvements.

Phase II improvements would include replacing the pool’s pumping apparatus and adding a community meeting room to the complex. The project’s cost is not included in the city’s current capital improvement program budget.

“One million dollars is a most generous donation that is appreciated by all stakeholders,” University Park City Manager Robbie Corder said. “The donor’s passion for the project is evident. However, like all cities, University Park has to prioritize capital expenditures. By their vote, the Council has deemed that the timing is not favorable to move forward with the Holmes Aquatic Center right now. That doesn’t mean ‘not ever,’ it means ‘not yet.’”

The City Council had previously considered whether to immediately pursue the Phase II renovations at its Nov. 7 meeting. At that meeting, council members expressed concern about the timing and cost of the project, as well as with the multipurpose space taking up greenspace in the park. 

“I don’t want to be in a rush to give up parkland,” Mayor Pro Tem Liz Farley said at the November meeting. “Right now, the timing is not good timing. We have a lot of capital projects.”

A requirement of the $1 million donation was that the city start Phase II construction this year, and the Jan. 23 meeting was the final date to comply with that schedule. 

“Because Council decided that the time is not favorable to move forward with Phase II, the requirements of the donation were not met,” community information officer Paige Ruedy explained.

In other business, the City Council entered into a $28,000 contract with Bradbury Miller Associates to assist with recruitment of a new Library Director. The current library director, Sharon Perry, is retiring on Feb. 29.

Council members also authorized the city to proceed with bidding and construction of phase I of the Snider Plaza Surface Improvements Project. City staff expects to return to the council in March with a recommendation. Construction will take about 18 months, director of engineering Katie Barron explained during the meeting.

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